Pence: US will hold those responsible for Khashoggi’s murder accountable

Trump said in a statement Tuesday that the US does not condone the killing of the U.S-based Saudi columnist, but that "foolishly" canceling $110 billion in arms sales - as some in Congress have suggested - would only mean that Saudi Arabia would go to other countries to acquire them.

Saudi Arabia's top diplomat has said the crown prince had "absolutely" nothing to do with it. Trump says "maybe he did and maybe he didn't".

Turkey has said the murder was carried out by a team of Saudis who travelled to Istanbul for that goal.

The United States has sanctioned 17 Saudis for the crime.

The prosecutor's version of events hewed closely to a Saudi statement last month saying that the agents had been ordered only to persuade, or if necessary to force, the return to Saudi Arabia of Khashoggi, a US resident and contributing columnist for The Washington Post who has written critically of the ruling monarchy.

The US Treasury said Qahtani, Crown Prince Mohammed's long-time right-hand man, "was part of the planning and execution of the operation" to kill Khashoggi. Trump is expecting a full report on the situation soon.

Mr Trump refrained from blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, even though the Central Intelligence Agency reportedly concluded that he ordered the October 2 assassination in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Turkey has more evidence contradicting the Saudi version of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi including a second audio recording, a Turkish newspaper reported on Friday.

The absentee funeral prayer is to be held in Istanbul's Fatih Mosque.

The second voice recording - said to be 15 minutes - clearly reveals that the murder of the Washington Post columnist had been premeditated, the Hurriyet newspaper said. The announcement failed to appease Turkey, which has piled increasing pressure on Saudi Arabia, but may be enough for some of Riyadh's Western allies to move on and press for key demands.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been the administration's point man on the Khashoggi matter, said in a statement that "at the time of the killing", the sanctioned individuals "occupied positions in the Royal Court and several ministries and offices of the Government of Saudi Arabia".

The development comes amid Saudi Arabia's repeated change in its official narrative of the October 2 murder.

Following the reported conclusions by the United States intelligence agency, the threat over relations between Washington and key ally Riyadh grows even more. The sanctions were announced Thursday.

However, Khalid denied that he spoke to Khashoggi on the phone.

As per the The Washington Post report, the CIA scrubbed multiple intelligence sources, among them a phone call between the prince's brother - the Saudi ambassador to the United States - and Khashoggi in which the former told the late journalist that he would be safe to go to the consulate in Istanbul and get the papers he needed. Khashoggi's murder has also led to increased scrutiny of Saudi Arabia's role in the Yemen war, which has pushed the impoverished country to the brink of starvation.

The journalist's remains were then taken by someone outside the consulate grounds, the attorney general said.